In cases where the bankruptcy petition was presented on or after 1 April 2004, and the bankrupt presents his/her own petition (Form 6.27), he/she will also be required to complete a comprehensive statement of affairs (Form 6.28), which is filed in court and is available to the official receiver at an early stage in the proceedings. As a result of the introduction of the comprehensive statement of affairs and the initial review upon receipt of that statement of affairs, (see paragraph 4.25 onwards regarding the initial review procedure), it will not always be necessary to require further information from the bankrupt, and completion of the PIQ(DP) will only be required where the bankrupt has recently traded. A debtor presenting his/her own bankruptcy petition can obtain the statement of affairs forms and guidance notes (Form 6.28) from the court or from the Insolvency Service website under the ‘Forms’ heading.
Please note that following the amendments made to insolvency legislation in April 2010 as a result of the Rules Modernisation project , the forms available on the HM Courts & Tribunals Service website are not currently up to date so it is advisable for debtors to access the relevant forms via the Insolvency Service website.
If necessary the debtor should seek assistance in completing the forms from friends or relatives. The official receiver should not assist debtors in completing statements of affairs required under section 272 of the Act.
A debtor who presents his/her own bankruptcy petition is required to file three copies of the petition in court, together with a verified statement of affairs [Note 1] [note 2] [note 3]. The court will return one of the petition copies to the petitioner, endorsed with the date, time and venue of any hearing, and also retain one copy to be sent to any insolvency practioner appointed under section 273(2) [Note 4]. In this instance, if the court refers the debtor to an insolvency practitioner, a copy of the petition and statement will be given back to the debtor by the court to be passed to the practitioner.
12.51 Copy for official receiver
If a bankruptcy order (Form 6.30) is made immediately on the petition (which is usually the case), the court will forward a copy of the statement of affairs to the official receiver, together with an endorsed copy of the petition. [Note 5] It may do this by allowing the debtor, if attending immediately upon the official receiver, to deliver the copy to him/her[Note 6].
Where the court cannot deal with the petition immediately but has to fix a date for it to be heard, a copy of the statement of affairs may be sent to the official receiver by the court [Note 7]. In practice, the court will usually provide a hearing date to the bankrupt and ask them to return and submit their bankruptcy petition and statement of affairs on that date. If the official receiver is provided with a copy of the bankrupt’s statement of affairs from the court in advance of the making of a bankruptcy order, in no circumstances, should he/she take any action in relation to the statement of affairs until either a bankruptcy order is made or he/she is appointed interim receiver. The receipt of a copy of the statement of affairs is not the beginning of the bankruptcy process, a bankruptcy order must be made and a copy of the order delivered to the official receiver.
In the event of a bankruptcy order being made the official receiver will always have a statement of affairs, so there is no provision for him/her to require the submission of another. If a copy of the statement is not available, the official receiver should contact the court which made the bankruptcy order. The official receiver may also obtain from the bankrupt further information amplifying, modifying or explaining the details contained in the statement of affairs [Note 8]. Where the bankrupt has filed his/her own petition and has been recently trading on his/her own account, he/she can be asked to complete form PIQDP. The official receiver may also require accounts, [Note 9] all or any of which may be required to be verified by a statement of truth if thought necessary (see Part 5 of this chapter).
The main purpose of requiring a debtor presenting his/her own petition to submit a statement of affairs at the petition stage is to show that the debtor is unable to pay his/her debts and therefore the making of a bankruptcy order is appropriate. The information in the statement of affairs will also assist the court to decide whether or not the debtor should be referred to an insolvency practitioner for a voluntary arrangement to be considered. A successful referral will mean that no bankruptcy order is made and the official receiver has no involvement in the case.
Where a voluntary arrangement is not possible, the insolvency practitioner to whom a debtor is referred may nevertheless agree to act as trustee and may be appointed by the court on the making of the bankruptcy order. It will be for the insolvency practitioner to deal with the assets and he/she will already have interviewed the debtor and obtained from him/her any additional information not contained in the statement of affairs. For the referral to have been made by the court the bankrupt’s debts must be less than the small bankruptcy limit (currently £40,000) and/or the estate’s value must exceed the minimum amount (currently £4,000), plus the bankrupt can not have been adjudged bankrupt or made a previous arrangement within the last 5 years [Note 10] [Note 11] [Note12]. It is unlikely that the official receiver will have an investigative role. If he/she does need to obtain further information then inquiries can be made of the bankrupt as necessary.
Where no referral or voluntary arrangement is possible and there is no immediate appointment of a trustee, the official receiver will take office as receiver and manager [Note 13]. Whilst acting as receiver or manager of the bankrupt’s estate the official receiver is entitled to sell or otherwise dispose of any perishable goods comprised in the estate and any other goods the value of which is likely to diminish if disposal is delayed. Further, he/she has a responsibility to protect any other property. The contents of the comprehensive statement of affairs submitted with the petition will be available to the official receiver in order to inform any decision regarding protection and disposal of assets.
12.57 Defective statements (Amended July 2011)
It is the court clerk’s responsibility to ensure that the debtor has answered every question in the statement of affairs but he/she is not required to check the contents. If the information in the statement of affairs appears to be deficient, the official receiver may consider asking the bankrupt to complete another full statement of affairs. The statutory forms are available via the Insolvency Service website www.insolvency.gov.uk/.../SPAN> or can be found at the Forms and Guidance section on the HM Courts & Tribunals Service website, however, please see paragraph 12.49 before accessing this site. Alternatively the official receiver may consider asking the bankrupt to complete form PIQB designed for use in creditor petition cases.